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Regarding the mitzvah of Talmud Torah:

First, please describe the definition of fulfilling the Mitzvah and please address directly how it might apply to each sub question if possible:

  • Can one recite a specific passage from memory?

    Does it have to be perfect word for word?

    Is working out a Question or the basis of a question in one's mind Torah study?

    Is thinking about one's relationship with Hashem torah study?

    Is contemplating the foundations of some philosophical Jewish ideas Torah study -or is only sticking to a prescribed source and topic from a source fulfillment?

  • Hi, this is six questions too many, it seems. If you would like an answer as to what constitutes the mitzvah of Talmud Torah, I can answer you; but please limit your question to one issue. – chacham Nisan Sep 20 '18 at 15:22
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    Even if he asked one, you would probably need to elaborate on those points. – David Kenner Sep 20 '18 at 16:04
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    ואחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין לבו לשמים – Dr. Shmuel Sep 20 '18 at 17:05
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There is no shiur(or limit) to learning Torah(Mishna Pe'ah). This means that there is no one way to learn or schedule to learn or specific amount to learn. Rather, there is a general requirement on every Jewish man over the age of 13 to engage in learning with the purpose of expanding his knowledge of the Torah and mitzvot until the day he leaves this world(Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'ah 246:1, 3, & 4).

This includes thinking about HaShem(Pirkei Avot 3:3), the mitvzot and how to fulfill them, their guidelines, the reading & understanding of Tanach, and contemplating the higher/inner dimensions of the Torah like kabbala, mussar, chassidut, etc.(remember seeing this in Igrot Kodesh).

There are different opinions of how to order their learning by splitting it into three parts(Mikra, Mishna, Talmud) or by learning the Talmud Bavli which includes all three(see SA YD 264:4 sourced above). There are different styles and methods of learning as well like aliba d'hilcheta, Brisker, and others(to name a few).

The main point of Talmud Torah is in knowing the Torah(Binyan Av) so that one may fulfill the mitzvot. This means knowing the halachot and practical conclusions and aspects of fulfilling the mitzvot as required by the Torah.

Therefore, all of the above constitute the mitzvah of Talmud Torah.

When reciting pesukim, however, it is forbidden to recite them by heart unless they are pesukim commonly cited(and it is required to recite them correctly so that their transmission doesn't change as a result of your mistake; hence the issur and see here http://www.chaburas.org/byheart.html).

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A great theoretical question that pinpoints to the lack of an accepted definition for such a common term.

  1. Mitzvahs need intentions (שולחן ערוך, אורח חיים, סימן ס', סעיף ד). So for anything to count as the Mitzvah of TT a proper intention must be present.

  2. It seems that the best definition would be: anything that follows the intention of learning/teaching Torah counts as Talmud Torah. That could be done either in thought or speech and includes reading of course.

  3. It's difficult to quantize that Mitzvah, i.g. does every single thought count as a single Mitzvah of TT etc. That's why we say the Berocho only once a day.

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